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Toy Exclusives: You Should Be Free to Buy As Many As You Like

As I noted in my post on exclusives post a few weeks back, toy companies do not get it – if they really, really wanted just to thank their biggest fans – they should do so by giving them something – how do they determine that? I do not know. But short of them driving around the country and physically verifying that you have at least 500 CARS diecast & then John Lasseter personally hands you a diecast pickup truck named after you with your eye color and designed in the shirt you are wearing that day, what’s the other option?

How about they create things you want to buy – isn’t that thanks enough?

Yes, the process is idiotic. They pool their collective brainpower and try and guess how many they can sell. In the case of Mattel, some of their recent decisions cause you to question their shoe size IQ. Let’s just make 1,000 Convoy Brothers. Let’s make 4 million of Francesco, Race Team Mater, Finn McMissile and LM with Racing Wheel because their apparent thinking was that CARS 2 would cause all of America to want 4 DIECASTS and 4 diecasts only. Their presumption was that these 4 would sell out and sweep the nation. Sure, you could quibble with that but okay, that’s not a terrible bet but PART 2 to their thinking was that after buying those 4, NO ONE really wanted any OTHER diecasts so let’s just make a few thousand of the other 30 choices. And let’s make sure we keep shipping those 4 because that’s all American’s want to buy. AND in fact, let’s limit some of those other 30 to only 2,000 or 4,000 in production because it’s “fun,” or collectors will like it.

Yes, people like the word CHASE on a card – but why stop there? Why not do the Willy Wonka thing and just make 5 and sprinkle them throughout the word. If 4,000 is “fun,” isn’t just 5 infinitely much more fun by a huge margin by that reasoning?

Or is it much more fun and more profitable to sell MORE to MORE customers who want to buy them?

I’m not suggesting a crazy unlimited run like the 4 glitches of CARS 2 but there seems to be no lack of love for THE KING (see eBay pricing) and NO ONE claims he’s limited, right? Numbers do not necessarily make them more or less sought after. If you look at the ten rarest production CARS, many of them don’t fetch much more than a typical CARS diecast release of that era.

CARS is the STAR WARS of diecast. LITERALLY, 98% of the over 1,000 releases on cards is a SELLOUT. Some are instant, some take a few months but 980 of 1,000 releases are gone from the store pegs within weeks. While this sellout rate might be true of Hot Wheels, I think it’s safe to say that CARS diecasts hold their value. Maybe you aren’t going to get a super huge return re-selling most of your CARS diecast on cards but again, 98% hold their original value – you certainly cannot say that for Hot Wheels. I have never seen a pile of CARS diecasts in a bin marked 2 or 4 for $.99 at toy shows.

That is why the CARS diecast market is different – what I’m arguing may not apply to another line where 500 is a good exclusive number but clearly after 7 years and a virtual sellout (98%), the business model is different.

So, that leads us to buying exclusives. Again, if a toy manufacturer wanted to “thanks” fans, they are going about it all wrong. You thank fans by giving them something – not by selling limited exclusives.

You don’t thank me for anything by limiting what I want.

I don’t want your thanks. I want you to make something I want to buy at a reasonable price. That is all the thanks I want.

Look at the recent Kmart Ivan giveaway. Yes, I appreciate you giving me a free CAR by buying $20 worth of product. That is all fine.

BUT how many of you were annoyed you COULD NOT FIND ENOUGH product to buy?

Is that dumb or a smart business plan?

I want to thank you for buying our products – by the way, we are not going to offer much for sale this month at this one retailer where the deal is on-going?

Do you feel thanks?

Do you feel love?

OR would you rather they just take your money?

So, not only did this promotion cost them the wholesale of this diecast but also postage and handling AND the bonus of annoying about 80-99% of your customer base to some extent?

And this extends to when they sell an exclusive. They feel the need to “thank you” by limiting how many you can buy. In the case of Mattel, they insist it’s 6 per order. NOT 6 per household but 6 per order. How ever will you defeat this 2-foot high fence?

You could simply clear your browser cache & history.
You could load about 10 different browsers on your computer, tablet & smartphone – or order 60 in about 10-minute time?

Or even if it’s 6 per household, how ever will you find another address to mail items to?

YOU CANNOT defeat HUMAN NATURE – face it, we will climb over, burrow under or just plain go ape-bat crazy when you tell us we cannot do something. So, why fight it? Why not make MORE MONEY? What a crazy concept huh? Instead of spending money on building a fence to limit how many you can buy – why not take that money to make MORE of an item?

Crazy, huh?

I’m not here to judge you. If you want things that say CHASE and limited production of 1,000 or 4,000 or whatever, that is your call. I’m only here to argue that artificial shortages are stupid and the business of business is to sell MORE THINGS – especially something that is NOT perishable. A million, okay, that might be too many but if a regular release that is produced in a run of about 45,000 to 60,000 (for an uncommon release) that appears 2 to the first case and maybe appears twice more during the year like maybe Darrell Cartrip with headset as a baseline of an item that sells out in a few weeks, clearly the market can support a run of 5,000 to 10,000 for most exclusives.

So, whether you want to buy 1, 2 or 100 – the future value of this object might affect your purchase but should your standards apply to everyone? If the Apple CAR was offered tomorrow at $20, many people would only buy 1 – after all, they only have 1 set of Piston Cup racers, why would you need many more? Some might buy one to open and one to save. Others might want to buy 100. If you want to buy 100 if only another 1,000 are made, great – clearly there is economic justification in re-selling. But what if 10,000 more made, would that stop you from buying 100? Should it? Why should Mattel care? Would you not want an Apple CAR if 10,000 were made? Or 60,000? Well, perhaps if 60k of a common release sells out at $3.49 so maybe % wise, there should be 20k of the Apple CAR made – or perhaps Mattel should keep making as many as people want to buy?

In other words, are you only collecting CARS diecasts because you want to keep them away from other people? Or do you collect because they hold their value? Do you collect because their value/valuable? Or some other reason? Does it matter? Of course, we often collect things because others want them but does that apply to everything you collect or find interesting, amusing or esthetically pleasing? Bottom line – does it matter or should it matter? Or in the case of CARS, is the Lightning McQueen diecast less appealing to you because there are about 50-million floating around?

In the case of Barry Diesel, my feeling is that Mattel designed it for SDCC 2011 but Disney might’ve put the kabosh on it as it conflicted with CARS 2 marketing (SDCC was around the time CARS 2 had just opened) since Barry was from CARS 1 – so they put it on MattyCollector who clearly is more interested in selling action figures and after a while, they just dropped it – even though a pallet or two of of Barry Diesel’s do not take up much room – Mattel has some giant warehouses. So, it languished somewhere all this time until it was offered to CTC who took them up on the offer. It seems a very simple proposition. If the price is right for you, buy it from CTC – if it’s not, don’t buy it. They did not create robots dressed like you to stand by people’s mailboxes to collect your Barry Diesel orders. Though that would be cool to see. 🙂 Mattel could’ve sold it online at Shop Mattel, taken them to a bunch of shows since 2011 but decided it was better stored until recently. Why? No idea. That you can take up with Mattel.

But again, as I suggested in my previous post on exclusives. Those in the wholesale/re-selling business should be allowed to buy as many as they want separately from individuals. I am not buying CARS diecast because they are rare. Call me a freak, I like them because I like them. I want Mattel to make money on them so they can stay in business and make more. I have CARS diecast in my collection they have made literally a million of them. Lightning & King are two of my favorite diecasts. I do not like them any less because they are “common.”

I want everyone who is interested in buying diecast CARS to have a reasonable shot at buying them. (I am not diminished because your collection rivals mine 🙂  In fact, I’m only ever jealous when I see the utter joy when a small kid only has like 4 CARS but has so much fun with them – just as I wish I could run around a tree at top speed, getting dizzy, fall down and laugh for 10-minutes … rats, just too old).

I am only ever interested in buying a few of something but if you want 100 to display, store or sell, Mattel should set up a Costco line separately so Mattel can MAXIMIZE the number of sales – satisfying individuals and bulk buyers – instead of wasting money on a blocking process plus increasing shipping costs by breaking everything in blocks of 6 when if someone wants a pallet, just load it onto a semi and freight it.

Make more product to make more money.

Pretty freakin’ radical, I know.

It’s not like 98% of the diecasts have sold out for 7 straight years and now PLANES diecasts sell out just as quickly but by all means, let’s make it harder to sell and buy things.


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